Latin-Style Yellow Rice (Arroz Amarillo)

10 Jan

“I was looking for a yellow rice recipe on your blog and I couldn’t find one,” says my dear friend Deborah the other day. “What kind of a Puerto Rican are you?”

Since Deborah’s people also hail from the Island of Enchantment, I cannot share my answer on a family blog.

2013-01-10 06.31.28  And in fact, my answer — however clever — did not reflect the exact truth. I am the kind of Puerto Rican who adds a packet of Sazón to the rice and leaves it at that. But I wasn’t telling her that! After all, she is a chef, owner of Cuvée Seafood & Grill at The Greenporter in Long Island’s North Fork, a proponent of real food — not little packages of MSG –, and was asking for a recipe to try out.

Kids love yellow rice, she said, and she is right. Mine certainly does.

So I dug into the archives of my mind for the way I used to do it, before I wasn’t in such a hurry to get food on the table. And in fact, doing it the old-fashioned way didn’t take very long at all.

And, another view

And, another view

And so, Arroz Amarillo. Experts will note that I use turmeric for color (Deborah’s suggestion, when I reminded her that the color comes from achiote – annato seeds — heated in oil. Too laborious and difficult to obtain for the average kitchen in a non-Latino area, was her view. Besides, she says, turmeric contains many healthful properties and is meant to ward off evil, while achiote was used as war paint by indigenous Americans! Parents with kids in the kitchen be warned: turmeric does stain). You could also use a pinch of saffron ($$$) instead.

With black beans and flex-mex chicken

With black beans and flex-mex chicken

Yellow Rice (Arroz amarillo)

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs chopped onion

1 Tbs chopped garlic

3 Tbs tomato puree (or 2 Tbs tomato paste – Goya Spanish-style with pimiento preferred)

½ tsp turmeric

2 Cups chicken broth

1 Cup medium grain rice

½ tsp salt (less if using full salt chicken broth)

Sauté olive oil, onion and garlic together at medium heat until the vegetables are softened. Add tomato puree and turmeric and cook for another two minutes. Add chicken broth, rice, and salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium, allow water level to recede to below rice level, then turn, cover, put on low and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Serve with Flex-Mex Chicken and Quick Red Beans, or Five-Minute Black Beans (but shhhhh…don’t tell Deborah I use a stock cube for that one!)


17 Responses to “Latin-Style Yellow Rice (Arroz Amarillo)”

  1. fullbabyboyhappymommy February 5, 2014 at 6:58 am #

    I can’t wait to try it! I am very guilty of buying the Mahatma kit, but this looks so much more flavorful.

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy February 5, 2014 at 8:54 am #

      I am not opposed to a box or packet…but this one has a lot of soul! And fewer additives…Thanks for your visit!

  2. Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy February 5, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    Reblogged this on Hot, Cheap & Easy and commented:

    Note to Readers: A big trending post…totally home-made, no packets involved!

  3. Carlos February 3, 2013 at 2:40 am #


    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy February 3, 2013 at 7:52 am #

      Hi Carlos. Moderation just means that the first time you post, I am alerted and need to approve you as a commenter. It helps avoid spammers and scammer who do’t belong here. It’s just the first time!

  4. Bluejellybeans January 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    ¡Qué rico Natalia! Es edad que a los niños le encanta y que normalmente hacemos la versión rápida, pero merece la pena hacerlo correctamente de vez en cuando. Afortunadamente tengo achiote en casa, así que la próxima vez que lo haga lo haré con achiote 😉
    Gracias por compartir!

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy January 13, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

      El achiote es muy bueno…diz que los indígenos lo usaban como repelente de mosquitos

      • Carlos February 3, 2013 at 2:39 am #

        Using just achiote is “white/steam rice” that is yellow but no flavor. On the other hand …. saffron is not really used in the island unless is in paellas (Best seafood paella ever in Guanajibo Homes, Mayaguez, PR) It is also too expensive for the “People’s food”

        So ….. best yellow rice is made with sofrito (base), achiote, tomato sauce …. and a few pieces of diced ham …. or even better tocineta!!!!

      • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy February 3, 2013 at 7:53 am #

        ¿Guanajibo Homes? Where is that? I thought I knew everywhere that was worth eating in Mayaguez! PLEASE ADVISE! We spend a lot of time there and only eat in one or two restaurants.

  5. Ashley @thedrivencook January 11, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    Yum! I have a big bag of rice in my pantry and would love to use it up this way. Looks delicious!

  6. Bam's Kitchen January 11, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    I love your picture with your rice piled high. I just came back from the market and bought some fresh tumeric. Now I bet that would be fantastic in your rice. I have orange finger tips from peeling the tumeric.

  7. Mad Dog January 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

    There must be a yellow way leading to that rice – now I understand what Tony Christie was singing about!
    Having spent some of my childhood in Cornwall, where saffron buns and cakes are de rigeur and then a few years in Spain, I’d normally use saffron. However, it’s very expensive and your recipe sounds amazing. I’ve had rice made with turmeric before, but I think it was just a matter of adding turmeric to the boiling water – not so good, whereas, I think your rice could be eaten without an accompaniment 😉

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy January 10, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      I did not know about saffron buns! Nor did I know about you and Cornwall…Very interesting….My friend James has a Thai restaurant in Truro: Chantek

      • Mad Dog January 10, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

        Saffron buns and cakes are delicious. I used to think there must be some sort of Spanish connection, especially since the Cornish pasty is very similar to an empanada, but I’ve recently found out that the Romans introduced saffron to England and a lot of it was grown here during the middle ages. The town at centre of the trade was even renamed from Cheppinge Walden to Saffron Walden, the name it retains today.

      • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy January 10, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

        Wow…fascinating stuff…food history is one of my favorite topics! Thanks!

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